As Phase 4 of the MCU approaches, the superhero film series is pushing for greater diversity. While Eternals had a diverse cast, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings had an Asian-centric cast.
The MCU is also taking a more progressive stance on LGBTQIA+ representation. It was the first time in a Marvel movie that Phastos’ love for his wife, Ben, was shown on screen through an on-screen kiss.
Although Disney refused to censor the on-screen kiss between Phastos and his husband, the inclusion of this scene led to a ban on Eternals in several middle countries.
Another Marvel movie has been banned in the Middle East because of the same issue of LGBTQIA+ people.
Doctor Strange 2 has reportedly been banned in Saudi Arabia, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
But Middle Eastern sources have claimed that it is because of the film’s depiction of LGBTQIA+ people. It was previously stated that Xochitl Gomez’s America Chavez is gay, which is based on the comics.
Pre-sale tickets for the upcoming MCU film were once available on the websites of theaters in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar; however, those tickets are no longer available. There are still tickets available in the United Arab Emirates indicating that the movie will be released there.
However, Disney and Marvel Studios won’t care if worldwide box office sales of Multiverse of Madness suffer because of this ban, because the sequel will have LGBTQIA+ representation. Despite the fact that this decision is a result of the region’s prohibition on homosexuality, it is nonetheless regrettable.
Keeping America Chavez’s sexuality on-screen for her live-action debut is a huge accomplishment for the character. Even after a wide range of footage showing her powers and potential mentor-mentee relationship with Doctor Strange and Wong, the MCU newcomer is set to become another breakout addition to the franchise.
If the Middle East bans any more Marvel films, it’s not clear if they’ll follow suit. Thor: Love and Thunder, which explores Valkyrie’s bisexuality, could be a contender. Disney and Marvel’s track record suggests that they won’t go back on their word.